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Dublin's Newest Restaurant Nolita Feels Like Walking Back Into The Celtic Tiger

By niallharbison

March 24, 2017 at 5:06pm


Eating on a regular basis leaves you with a few personal pet peeves. 

They'll vary per person but rock-hard butter, having to wait ages for the bill and drinks served in jam jars are some of mine. 

Topping the list though is when I am served Pepsi instead of Coke. 

I have nothing against Pepsi but I'm a Coke man and for my sins, I drink a can a day. There is a huge difference in taste. When I order a glass of white wine, I don't expect a glass of red to arrive. Nor when I order a Guinness do I expect a bottle of Peroni to appear on a tray. 

It might seem like a small insignificant gripe but the main thing a restaurant has to do is deliver what you order and in Nolita, they failed at the first hurdle. Worse still, things never really picked up after #Pepsigate.

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Having a quick business lunch, you'd expect to be eating within about 10 minutes of ordering. Most places know that and are set up to fire out the food.

We waited a full 28 minutes to get our starters. An absolute age but we put it down to the place having just opened. Give them time and all that. 

My Calamari Fritti was grand. Not good, not bad, just grand. 

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I'd wondered what chicken meatballs would be like but lacking the courage to order them, I was delighted when my dining companion did. 

His face told me all I needed to know and when I asked him what they were like, he replied "they taste like the inside of a battered sausage from the chipper".

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After another long wait, the mains arrived. Below average pizza and a pizza-style sandwich that was dripping in oil (and not in a good way). 

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As we sat there, I looked around the place and was brought back to the Celtic Tiger years. It is absolutely massive and must have cost a small fortune to kit out. 

Our tap water and Pepsi were served in crystal glasses that Donald Trump would be proud of in the White House. 

We are back to the days of 'bigger is better' when it comes to Dublin restaurants. Gone are the value days at the height of the recession, where creativity and original thinking were mandatory. We are back in a world where restaurants get million quid kit outs and the big decisions are made on spreadsheets, rather than by plucky foodie entrepreneurs.

I'm sure they'll iron out the food in here, and the bar will probably be wedged with people drinking €12 cocktails all weekend long, but it's a definite example of the old Celtic Tiger attitude raising it's dirty head again. 

It would be a crime to go back to those days on the Dublin foodie scene. Unfortunately, there are plenty of signs that it's happening and Nolita is one of them.

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